All the Crooked Saints, by Maggie Stiefvater
Publish Date: October 10, 2017
Published by: Scholastic Press
Genre: YA Magical Realism/Historical Fiction
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)
**I received this as an ARC from the publisher at BookCon2017 in return for an honest review.**
Here is a thing everyone wants: a miracle.
Here is a thing everyone fears: what it takes to get one.
Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.
At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.
They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.
I love Maggie Stiefvater (okay so I’ve only read The Raven Cycle but I think that’s enough to make anyone fall in love with her writing, right?), so I was so ready to read this book and getting it at BookCon (and signed by her too!!) was the most amazing thing to ever happen to me. Sadly, though, my excitement didn’t extend to actually reading it in a timely manner, and I have only just finally finished it – a week after it was published.
I think part of the reason for this was that I didn’t fall in love with the story as quickly as I did with TRC. It was just a more gradual build-up of getting to know the characters and understanding the magic of the world which Maggie created in this novel. In fact, I almost wish there had been a little bit more to it, since I felt like there was much more to learn about each of the Soria cousins, Pete, and even some of the pilgrims and other Soria family members. While what was presented made sense in the time-frame of the story, I just personally wanted to know a little bit more about them.
Maggie’s writing, of course, is spectacular and stunning, literally giving life to inanimate things, and painting pictures that capture so much of humanity. I really enjoyed the concept she presented about miracles and the struggle to overcome one’s inner darkness. The story flowed wonderfully and excellently, with a pacing that kept the movement going but also stayed still for necessary moments to learn about some important history or just a character’s personality. I will, however, say it wasn’t entirely captivating – I found I could easily put it down at times and pick it back up later without feeling like I was going through a withdrawal – but it wasn’t a drag either. It was just a beautiful rendition of a concept that I could immerse myself in whenever I desired.
Like I said earlier, the characters were highly interesting and had me wanting more of them, especially of their relationships with one another. I really enjoyed Beatriz’s character growth throughout the book, and would have really liked to see more of her interactions with Pete, because for me their relationship felt both natural but also strangely rushed (or just missing those small key moments that make all the difference to the reader). It’s hard to describe – I thought that they worked well together and their relationship was cute and made sense, but I also felt like I wanted to see more of their falling in love with each other, of just being with each other and spending time together and watching that relationship grow stronger. As for the other characters, I loved how despite all of them having one particular trait that really stood out for them, they always had much more depth and personality that, despite not getting the page-time, still made its presence known.
Overall, this was a really nice read with some beautiful magical realism and a concept that truly makes you think. The characters were extremely interesting, and I would have liked to read more about them, and the storyline definitely kept my interest. It’s not my extreme favorite of Maggie’s work that I’ve read so far, but it’s still something I am glad I read.
On an added note, with this book I have finished my Goodreads goal for the year!!